On March 1st, Romanians celebrate the coming of spring by giving and receiving small trinkets tied with red and white string. These trinkets are called mǎrţişor and they mark the beginning of the agricultural new year. Before we learn more about the history and symbolism of the mǎrţişor, it might be useful to learn how to pronounce this word.
In Romanian, the letter ǎ is pronounced like ‘urgh’ as in ‘urgh, do I have to wake up’. The letter ţ is pronounced like the ‘zz’ in pizza. The letter ş is pronounced like ‘sh’ as in shadow. Finally, the accent on this word is placed on the last syllable, so mǎrţişor is pronounced m-urgh-zz-ee-shore. The word derives from martie which is the name for the month of march. Now that we’ve established the etymology and pronunciation of this word, we can move on to its history.